This article is an edited excerpt from Eugene Foley’s book,
Artist Development: A Distinctive Guide to the Music Industry’s Lost Art
used with permission.
Live performances are an important part of building a buzz for a recording artist. You should perform at least eight times per month, if at all possible. Concerts enable you to improve your live performance abilities, win over new fans and sell CDs. Touring is also a great vehicle for publicity and radio airplay in new markets.
With record sales being down over the last few years, many artists are realizing that touring is the best way for them to earn a large amount of money. It also gives them an opportunity to bring in additional revenue from the sale of merchandise and CDs right at the venue. The concert setting allows an artist to sell directly to the consumer without a strong dependency on a retail distribution alliance.
You may be fortunate and have a booking agent on your team, or perhaps in the early days, you will have to arrange your own tours. Regardless of how your tour is booked, the importance of regularly performing in numerous markets cannot be underestimated. If you are firmly established in your home market, then it’s time to consider winning over some new cities.
Fans and the media can be very fickle and quickly switch their allegiance to another artist if you are not out there promoting and marketing yourself on a regular basis. Touring is among the best ways to stay on their minds and in their hearts.
Don’t always be so concerned with what you’re being paid for the performance. Of course, you should try to get what is fair. But remember that your main goal in the early stages of a fledgling career is to use the gigs as a way to gain experience, sell CDs, win over new fans and as a vehicle to secure press and radio opportunities.
At every gig, you should announce that you have a mailing list. After your performance, pass around a pad and pen so that people can sign up if they are interested in you. Once a month, send out an e-mail that announces upcoming gigs and provides fans with additional news and information. It takes some effort, but it’s worth it. This may sound obvious to you, but so many artists that contact me simply don’t create and maintain a mailing list.
Before you even consider planning and booking a tour, you must do your
homework and prepare diligently. You must be able to put on a show that is
entertaining and professional. The band and the crew must be well rehearsed
and capable of successfully handling their respective responsibilities each night.
Song selection, equipment set up and breakdown, sound technicians, lights, hotels
and transportation must be organized before the tour can actually begin.
Make sure you send a thank you card or appreciative e-mail to anyone who helped to make your tour a success.
This simple gesture of kindness will go a long way and so few take the time to do it, the one who do will stand out.
Being on tour is not a license to get drunk every night, while missing gigs and press interviews. If you worked in an office at some big corporation you wouldn’t act like that. If you did, you’d be fired long before you even sobered up! Take your career seriously or it won’t be a career for very long.
Do your best to get as much rest of possible. Try to eat healthy and avoid the excesses of the road.
These days, many hotels have exercise equipment and swimming pools. Use these as opportunities to stay in shape.
Good luck out there!
Foley Entertainment, Inc. is a music industry consulting firm and entertainment agency licensed with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Affairs, Office of Consumer Protection/Regulated Business Section. He is an active/voting member of N.A.R.A.S. (The GRAMMY® Awards) and a member of the Better Business Bureau. Foley is also a N.A.R.I.P. award-winning Consultant/Strategist. Foley offers a FREE, no obligation, written CD/Press Kit evaluation for recording artists in all genres. E-mail him for more details and the mailing address.